One Charles Center is bought by Angelos Price was $6 million for premier address

November 21, 1996|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

Peter G. Angelos yesterday completed his $6 million purchase of the One Charles Center downtown office tower, the second building he has bought this year to house his expanding law practice.

Angelos' acquisition of the 22-story skyscraper comes months after negotiations to buy the 12-story Sun Life Building collapsed over price. Angelos, the Baltimore Orioles' chief executive, was under some pressure to find new office space because his law firm's lease was expiring at 300 E. Lombard St.

"The current business plan is to make the building available to tenants seeking first-class office space," Ted Hirsh, an Angelos attorney, said of One Charles Center. "No decisions have been made as yet about its long-term operation or management."

Earlier this year, Angelos spent $14.5 million to acquire Court Towers, a seven-story office building in Towson. He plans to expand the law firm's presence there as well. In all, his law practice has more than 70 attorneys.

At One Charles Center, Angelos plans to invest at least $4 million upgrading the 34-year-old building, once the centerpiece of the city's 33-acre Charles Center revitalization. The building is currently 60 percent vacant.

The law firm intends to occupy at least two floors in the 320,000-square-foot building by March.

Even with the planned improvements and an estimated $1.2 million in annual taxes and other so-called "carrying costs," Angelos' investment is considerably lower than its previous owners', a Chicago-based investment firm that had borrowed $25 million for the building three years ago.

The lender, Metropolitan Life, foreclosed on the building and seized ownership in August 1993. Although Metropolitan was owed $19.6 million when it foreclosed, the New York insurance company's asking price for the building was $11.5 million.

"The reason we're selling it is in keeping with our overall corporate strategy of rebalancing our real estate portfolio and reducing our equity real estate holdings," said Catherine Peters, a MetLife spokeswoman.

MetLife hopes to dispose of roughly $1 billion in real estate a year. In all, MetLife controls $10 billion in real estate.

Pub Date: 11/21/96

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